Naples remembers 9/11
By Dawn De Busk
NAPLES — In big cities and small communities alike, citizens of this nation were united in their observance of 9-11.
Whether thousands gathered or a dozen encircled the ceremony, the sentiment was the same: It was a day that was difficult to forget.
“I remember going home from work and saw the news coverage, and couldn’t pull myself away. My life stopped for those hours, and I just watched in awe,” Naples Town Manager Derek Goodine recalled.
On Tuesday on the Naples Causeway, people planted an American Basswood — a tall, sturdy tree that is native to this land, and hearty enough to withstand the weather at the Arctic Circle.
According to a participant of the 9-11 observance, planting that particular tree on this particular day is symbolic of Americans.
“That is how Americans are. We do what needs to be done. We are back on our feet after something bad happens,” Maggie Krainin said.
“It was a lovely thing to have the tree planting ceremony. It’s been eleven years,” she said, taking a deep sigh and pausing.
“Any kind of commemorative of that incredibly sad occasion is moving, is important to have,” she said.
“It was an important thing to do: That we remember the people we lost and the people that survived, and take note as we go forward,” she said.
Krainin said she felt the pride that Americans felt as they bounced back the next day. Also, she felt the pride as Americans reacted to that very day eleven years ago, and did what they needed to do to deal with the incredible chain of events, and to help others survive.
That was the pride she heard about in a speech from Town Manager Derek Goodine when he described seeing in the New York State Museum exhibit a piece of one of the airplanes.
“It was part of the landing gear, and one of the things that affected me the most. To see it brought me from sadness to anger. When we think about 9-11, we think about the Twin Towers. But, it was more than the World Trade Center. There were the people who perished on the planes, too,” he said, adding that first responders are still dying from the toxins they inhaled.
After he saw the total number of fatalities related to that 2001 attack on American soil — often compared to Pearl Harbor in 1941 — Goodine said he turned around to another display, and was reminded that public safety personnel and good Samaritans had evacuated 25,000 people.
“That number, 25,000 people, it gave me a source of pride. That is amazing. That is seven times Naples’ year-round population that was saved in the hours between when the planes hit and the buildings went down,” Goodine said.
“To see it at the museum, it had a healing impact to be there and to be able to touch the girders,” he said.
“To have the tree dedicated, it is part of a healing process, doing our due diligence to remember that day,” he said.
Like Krainin, Goodine believed that dedicating a tree on the Causeway was an appropriate way to take note, by marking the infamous occasion and giving credence to those who died and those who survived.
“For the Americans who lived through that day and went through that day in shock, we will always remember. For future generations, it is important, too,” he said.
“It is great to have a tree that will grow and continue to thrive so people can say, ‘Oh look. That is there in memory of the people who died in 9-11. It is important to tell people that this is our 9-11 tree,” Goodine said,